Great men have said many wonderful things, sometimes, unfortunately, they fail to perk the ears of the majority. So their ideas in-part pass with them. Every so often we are lucky enough to have one of these great men put their ideas on paper. Not necessarily for the now, but primarily for then. In the hopes of one day being understood, if even then they are just ghosts. This is a talk with Friedrich Nietzsche.
It took quite awhile to be able to get to this point, I have always favored Nietzsche as one of the great thinkers of the time. In such a way I had to study German just to be able to speak with him. So I did- as rough as my tongue was I felt I knew quite enough to be able to go back and carry a conversation with him. I dressed in a warm navy blue coat, ascot took me a little while to tie. Needless I looked quite dashing. I set my device and went back. The cobblestone road shined with the rising sun as I approached his residents. I made my way up the small stoop, the door was the kind of slick wet that seems to the only form from the morning dew. I let my fingers run themselves along the moist metal of the door knocker before proceeding to rap it three times. The curtain to the left of the door moved quickly open then closed as if a machine was operating it. I knock once more. A small clank sound comes from inside the door then it opened. The August morning shines on Elisabeth’s face, I try to keep my dislike hidden. “May I help you with something?” She asked with a feigned nice tone. “Yes madam, I am here to speak with Friedrich. Is he in?” I asked knowing full well that he was. She looked me up and down with judgmental eyes then nodded and moved away from the door frame. I step through the opening and stand in the entry way, the house smells of books and old sweat, a concoction for my nostrils that will be remembered for some time. She closes the door behind me and offers to take my coat. I hand it to her and she hangs it up. She then ushered me into a back room where Friedrich laid. You could see his sickness leak out of his pours as he laid still in the bed. He woke as his sister closed the door behind her. “I cannot tell if I trust her anymore.” He mumbled. At this point, his great mind was spent, and later tonight it will end him. I just hoped what I was about to tell him stuck somewhere.
He is sitting up moving his mouth around to indicate he was thirsty. I try to hand his glass of water to him but he continues to smack his lips, the grand mustache moves side to side as he does so. I begin to get the feeling that I came to late. I move the glass to his lips and he drinks. He smacks his lips once more as I place the glass on the small table next to the bed. “It is an interesting thing, I do not know you but yet you feed me water when I request it, humbling almost.” he said with a smile. I straighten up and spoke “Hello Mr. Nietzsche, I am quite the fan of yours. My name is Karl, that’s the least important part. I’m from the future.” He just blinked at me as I continued. “I just wanted to let you know, what’s the word, you’re received in modest light.” I finished knowing I probably misspoke. “You’re not Germen are you?” He asked. I palmed the back of my head and replied “No, I am American. Will that be alright?” I asked. His moustache moves slightly upwards to indicate a small smile.
I got to explaining on how his work was praised and translated and read over the world. His spirit rose higher and higher as I went on. Who would have expected a happy Nietzsche? His sister walks in and I quickly stop talking, she gives him a scowl and leaves the room. I walk to the door and check for peering ears or eyes, none. I sit down and as quickly as it came it was gone. A sour sulking Friedrich stared back at me. “My sister. She makes the highs higher and the lows more frequent. I haven’t gone for a walk in some time. Imprisoned in this bed, my illness the heavy bars. I want to say that is the reason my head is so cloudy when I walk it’s a renewal of thought. Begone the odd, and good morning to the wonderful.” He started to trail off into a mumble. “I have something to show you-” I reach into my coat inner pocket, pulling out my worn copy of Antichrist. “This is yours, it’s in English, but yours.” I hand the book to him, he wipes his palm across the cover. Something clicked in his head, like a stranger turning the switch to light a dark room. Bright lights shine in his eyes as he looks from the well-used book then back to me. “I want to say my senses are lying to me, that I do not see you here, that this book is not in my hands, that it is all an illusion put forth by my cloudy mind. But if this is not real, I must be far past the plateau of reason…” He finished then turns his attention back to the book. I could see him read his name each time on the cover. I was about to speak, to say something comforting to ease the manic thoughts racing through his head but he beat me to the punch. “I have to assume that, if presented with so many truths and wonders- that maybe this is my final dance with reason.” He hands the book back to me. “Tell me about the present that you derive from.” I did, I told him of the social identity crisis, the way religion is still ripping away at modern governments. I talked for maybe three more hours, like a child explaining how their day went, animated.
Dusk was closing and so was my time to leave. I stood from the wooden chair and tucked it back into its corner. Standing at his bed I begin my goodbye. “Sir, this was more than a pleasure this was possibly the greatest day of my short life. I can say…” He grips my hand hard and interrupts me. “Your life is only as short as you make it, pity those who haven’t removed themselves from the repetitions of life, those men are the ones with short lives. We are immortal.” He finished but his grip doesn’t waver. “This is a goodbye.” I said, he let’s go of my hand and I make my way out of the room, the house, down the street. To take a walk, to clear my head.
August 25th rolls forth, and his body dies. I lean against a pole as they carry his body out of the house. From a distance, I attend his funeral. I hear the over quotable phrases. They buried him where he needed to rest. I take my device slowly from my pocket and return home.